SRSP 16-19 Topic 5 Unit 1a – A Buddhist Perspective


Buddhists have developed a very sophisticated analysis of the mind and mental processes, valuing introspective or ‘contemplative’ methods for understanding the mind, as well as using meditation to enhance positive states of mind. It is interesting to compare Buddhist psychology with its Western scientific equivalent. In Buddhism, mind and body are seen as influencing each other. The mind is described as a stream of mental events, with no separate controlling centre – ‘no-self’. Recent research by neuroscientists has imaged what happens in the brain while people are meditating.

The Buddha and his followers taught that one’s personal awareness is not unbreakably fastened to the brain, so that a stream of consciousness can continue after the death of the body, being involved in the rebirth of another individual. Science rarely looks at beliefs of this sort, except perhaps to reject them. There have been, however, some interesting studies of near-death experiences, and of claimed memories of previous lives.

This unit consists of 1 lesson and is suitable for students aged from 16 to 19 years.

Resources for this lesson come both from this unit and also some resources from Unit 6a: The Environment.


Key Questions

  • What do Buddhists believe about the human mind?
  • How is Buddhist psychology different from mainstream scientific psychology?
  • What is the contribution of the Dalai Lama to the science and religion debate?
  • What do Buddhists believe about death and re-birth?
  • How might Buddhists respond to environmental issues?

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Unit Resources

Unit Overview (Word)

Link to Triah Xua Thuan video [Need to be online]


An interview with Ratnaprabha

If you’d like to download this video, right click this link and select “Save link as”


Lesson 1

Lesson Plan: Buddhist views on the environment (Word)

Teacher Resource Sheet: Diagrams to support student’s work (Word)

Teacher Resource Sheet 2: The Human Mind (Word)

Student Resource Sheet: The Human Mind (Word)


Resources from unit 6a

Teacher’s Support Notes (Word)

Resource 21: Buddhist Precepts (Word)

Resource 22: Buddhism and the Environment (Word)

Slide 12: If there were no such thing… (Word)

Slide 13: Examples of Buddhist poetry (Word)

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)